Titanic II – Good or bad?
Anthony Nicholas is a goldmine of information on all things Titanic-related. With news recently announced that Australian businessman Clive Palmer is pushing ahead with his plans to launch Titanic II, Anthony lets us know why his emotions on the subject are rather mixed…
Will he or won’t he? Clive Palmer’s Olympian scheme to resuscitate the most famous name in maritime history seems to be proceeding full steam ahead. Undaunted by a tidal wave of scepticism in ‘expert’ quarters, the Australian billionaire’s bizarre maritime bandwagon refuses to lay down and die.
Of course, Titanic II will incorporate every modern safety device and technical advance known to mankind. I can’t help but feel as though I’ve heard that before somewhere. Like the original, she will carry three classes of passengers. Incredibly, people over ‘a certain age’ will not be allowed in the casino that was conspicuously absent in the original this ‘new’ version is so reverently trying to replicate.
This ‘more or less’ faithful recreation will be built in a Chinese shipyard, and make her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in 2016. Presumably, the delivery voyage will become the longest and most intensive test run of any ship ever built.
It is also a safe bet that the first lifeboat drill will be the best attended in maritime history. Dragging the ghostly memory of the original ship up for air is, at the very least, in questionable taste. Some unkind souls have suggested that the entire project is a few rivets short of a sound hull.
I share that cynicism. I’ll believe in Titanic II when the Blue Star Line starts laying keel plates in a shipyard, as opposed to dinner plates at a variety of circus type ‘themed’ media events. And yet….
Imagine what people would pay to be on this replica Titanic when- if- she ever sails past the Statue of Liberty? The media coverage would be unimaginable. And there is no denying the sheer, matchless glory of that bewitching, beautiful hull. There is no question that Titanic II would be a true show stopper, one out of all proportion to her relatively diminutive size in today’s cruise industry.
But I still harbour my doubts. We are far more egalitarian as a society than we were a century ago, and the idea of being stuck in third class seems bizarre. And the original Titanic was an ocean liner, not a cruise ship. Gilded transportation as opposed to glamorous/gaudy imitation.
Titanic II is, without doubt, the most controversial maritime project of the century. But, as improbable as it may seem, she is no more fantastic or unbelievable than the real Titanic was in her day. Food for thought.
What do you think about the plans for Titanic II? Would you book a cruise on her maiden voyage? Let us know in the comments below.